1989 Volkswagen Jetta CSX 1.8 Carb from South Africa


Gets better with age


Water temperature sender failed (three times)

Back door handle failure.

Heater matrix replaced.

Engine mountings replaced.

General Comments:

Amazingly reliable. Has run in temperatures from +45 degrees C to - 10 degrees C across five African countries, with varying qualities of fuel.

Still looks in showroom condition.

Clutch is still original.

Exhaust (muffler) - one box - had to be replaced last year (i.e. at 13 years of age)

Uses one pint of oil approx. every 10 000km to 12 000km (services still at factory-specified intervals)

Gives comfortable 140km/h cruise and around 9l/100km in fuel consumption around town and as little as 7,1l/100km on the open road.

And - to cap it all - it is still the best handling of all the marks of Golf/Jetta (1,2,3 and 4 - I've no idea what the new Mark 5 is like, because it hasn't yet reached our shores.)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th September, 2003

1989 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.8 litre 8v gasoline from North America


Mexican-made German wonder just won't die!


Rear door handles replaced around 200,000 miles.

Sunroof seal replaced around 210,000.

Radiator replaced once and repaired once.

Some items that the mechanics claimed they'd never seen break before had to be replaced in the first couple years we owned the car. Sorry, but I can't remember what they were exactly.

Other items such as brakes, tires and exhaust replaced without great expense or difficulty at what I consider normal intervals.

Odometer had to be replaced or repaired around 130,000.

Water temp sensor replaced twice in 9 years.

Suspension is starting to show its age.

Headliner wilted in places.

General Comments:

This car has served my wife and I very well. We bought it with 75,000 miles and are now at 232,000 miles on original engine, transmission and, get this, original clutch!

Air conditioning recharged once only in the 9 years we've owned and driven the car. A/C still works great and does not have a prohibitive impact on engine performance.

We still get about 28-30 mpg using standard grade gas.

If you have one of these cars, the Bentley Service Manual from VW will pay for itself many times over if you do any of your own repairs.

A great little commuter vehicle with some style if that's what you're looking for. If you're after high-performance, look elsewhere.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st May, 2003

1989 Volkswagen Jetta Carat 1.8L 4 cylinder from North America


Great car, cheap on gas


The oil pump died. Costly to repair.

The radio had a secret code, and after the battery was replaced the radio turned off, and in order to get the code back, I must send it into the manufacturer, and to do that it would be cheaper to just buy a new radio.

Needed 3 new tires when I bought it.

Everything else seems to be solid on the car.

General Comments:

Amazing car. I was looking for something small, cheap on gas, and still have it look cool. The Jetta covers all of this. Not to mention it has power locks, windows, mirrors, and a sunroof. The car is very peppy, it can certainly pass other cars on the road with ease.

The engine sounds absolutely perfect after 300 000km. The clutch is beginning to slip, but I'll worry about that when it comes.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th December, 2002

9th Sep 2004, 22:46

With respect to the radio code... I had the same thing happen on my Mazda when I changed the battery. As I'd bought the car used, I didn't know what code was currently programmed in. I went to the dealer who got the radio restarted with their secret "universal?" code. Then I was able to change it to my own code which I can re-enter if the battery is disconnected again.

1989 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.8L from North America


Great, low maintenance commuter car


Had to replace the fuel pump.

The throttle sensor is faulty.

General Comments:

This is my 3rd car and 3rd VW. I am very happy with it overall. Even though the car is now 13 years old, it is in good driving condition. The engine runs a little rough and sometimes revs while idle. This is because of the throttle sensor, which I need to replace. The clutch is still the original one and will probably have to be replaced soon.

This car handles exceptionally well! I love driving in and out of traffic with this car. The engine has decent torque and enough power to climb steep hills in higher gears. The interior is simple and the seats are comfortable. I do wish this car had a cup holder, or at least a place to install a 3rd party one! That's been a nuisance. Aside from the fuel pump, this car has not given me any major trouble in the time I've owned it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th October, 2002